With 2017 coming to an end, it’s time to look ahead to what we can expect from the world of branding in 2018. Here are 5 trends we at Creative Supply expect to go big in the coming year.
1. Brand locally, sell globally
In an age of globalisation, how does a brand stand out? After 88 years in business, luxury fashion house Fendi decided to alter its logo by adding “Roma” in the logo baseline. In a world of fashion globalisation, this small change means a lot. Not only it emphasises Fendi’s origin, but also on its exclusivity and its individuality.
Emphasizing locality is a recent trend with roots in the food industry, after a boom in demand for conscientious production with minimal food miles, but it soon became a successful strategy which other industries quickly adopted. For instance, Hoxton Hotels no longer reside exclusively in the hipster epicentre of east London, but also in Amsterdam and Paris. And Soho House, another hotel brand, is now in Europe and the US. French luxury candle-maker Diptyque has a large online presence and ship worldwide, but relentlessly stress on their website and packaging their exact location in Paris, at 34 boulevard Saint-Germain in the 5th arrondissement.
This hyper-local branding is not a new trend, but in 2018 it could well break into the mainstream.
2. Asianisation of the West
UNIQLO, Muji, Peninsula Hotels, Sangri-La Hotels. Whether it’s fashion, food, services or design, Asian is hot right now. And Asian brands are seeing a boom across Europe.
Many European-born brands have cottoned on to the trend. UK fashion company SuperDry, not only incorporate Asian influences in their design, but even use Japanese characters in their logo. And the very name of Swedish footwear brand AxelArigato is Japanese for ‘thanks a lot’.
Swiss brands have also begun to take note. Chopard currently has a Chinese New Year range which plays on the floral and colourful styling of Eastern art. And, in 2016, Carl F. Bucherer unveiled LI Bingbing as their global brand ambassador; not only adhering to current European trends, but also increasing their reach in the Asian market.
As we move into 2018 more and more companies will be looking to the east for inspiration.
3. Swiss upgrade
Many Swiss companies are under pressure. Increase in international competition, surge of the Swiss Franc and high production costs make it harder for Swiss based companies to compete. To stay relevant, many of them are turning to branding.
Back in the 90s, Swiss watchmakers feared cheap Japanese alternatives would kill the industry. But Swiss manufacturers positioned themselves as the traditional and high quality option – highlighting why their products and services were worth the price tag.
Other companies have also begun to adopt a similar approach, evident in the recent rebrandings of Logitech and Zimmerli. For Zimmerli, their new tagline – ‘The world’s finest underwear. Handmade in Switzerland since 1871.’ – places the brand in a class of its own, using the connotations of traditional Swiss quality to increase their global potential.
Highlighting traditional Swiss quality is already a trend for larger brands in the B2C sector, but in 2018 expect to see the industrial sector and smaller companies move in the same direction. And beyond this, can tradition and quality be the only brand promises of Switzerland or is it too limiting?
4. Branding artificial intelligence
In 2017 artificial intelligence (AI) was a buzzing topic in the world of business and tech. As the technology is emerging, the narrative around it is yet to be created. This narrative could hugely effect how quickly and effectively the technology takes off.
In the banking and insurance sectors, for instance, “robot advisors” are expected to take over the relationship of retail clients. But when people’s money is on the line, how do you facilitate trust?
For workers, AI could shake up industry as much as the industrial revolution in the 19th century. Jobs may completely change, even disappear altogether.
Throughout history people have been scared of adopting new technology. Buying a car over the trusty horse, riding the elevator over the stable stairs, or listening to an iPod over the tangible CD. The key in each case has been creating a narrative upon which people can build trust in the innovation. Branding will be called upon again to do the same for AI.
Despite huge benefits and advantages, AI, in many ways, is a tough sell. But there has always been an important link between innovation adoption and branding – and with AI this relationship is about to step into the spotlight.
5. The rise of the personal brand
Personal branding is nothing new. But its importance is growing fast. The rise of freelancers and the gig economy has led to a freedom which means people look more for meaningful work, rather than fitting into a standard corporate position.
But it’s not easy. There are downsides to the gig economy too, such as a decrease in job stability. However, developing a personal vision and turning it into a personal brand can alleviate this worry and enables people to carve out their own role within the business world.
In the internet age of interconnectivity and transparency, personal branding is no longer a choice. It is forced upon us all, and is becoming more and more prevalent. With no way to avoid it, the only option is to turn it into an advantage.
Used effectively, personal branding allows people to control how they are viewed by others. It opens up prospects and allows people to choose who they want to be and where they will go – to chase a personal vision and turn it into a life. Personal Branding is here to stay.